Your weekly update from Chief Executive Robert Morton

Robert Morton, CEO

I would firstly like to congratulate our first student paramedic group (Cohort1) for qualifying and becoming registered paramedics. They are the first group we have trained on the job, and it’s great to see you become fully fledged HCPC registered professionals. It’s such a fantastic achievement and I know a great deal of hard work has gone into getting you to this point, not least from yourselves but also from our training team, your mentors, your role-models and your colleagues. Congratulations to you all.

Last week was International Women’s Day. A day celebrating the achievements of women – whether they be political, economic, cultural or social. And none more so than the amazing women working for us as members of staff or volunteers. Director of People and Culture Lindsey Stafford Scott is bringing together a special interest group for women within the Trust, to explore in more depth the issues women face at work, and what we can do to break down barriers and improve female representation in senior roles. If you would like to be involved in this group please email

On Monday evening (13th), some of our staff appeared on Jeremy Kyle’s national prime-time show on ITV, The Kyle Files. Last November, Jeremy did a ride-out with our teams for the show, with the focus being on people who drink to excess and the impact that it has on emergency services. I would like to thank the teams who appeared on camera and represented EEAST brilliantly.

We have finally reached an agreement on our emergency services contract and have worked very hard with commissioners to make it happen. Part of this block two-year contract will involve a full review of our capacity and finances, before then re-profiling our contract again in the 18/19 financial year. This has been a welcome development, as the Trust has continued to argue throughout the 2016/17 year that we did not have sufficient monies to deliver the services we are measured against. It’s real progress to be where we are now and is good to see our commissioners and regulators supporting us, and agreeing to undertake this review so we can better deliver services to our patients.

Whilst there is still a road to travel there is now light at the end of the tunnel, where we will get visibility of the services we need to deliver, and alleviate the pressure we have been working under for a considerable amount of time. Demand has dropped significantly in the last few weeks, handover delays and responses to our sickest patients (Red 1 calls) has improved, and the number of patients experiencing delays has dropped. Thank you to all of you for your hard work and care to our patients during what has felt like a very difficult period for EEAST; it’s still busy, but it’s better.

And finally, I wanted to share with you a story that quite frankly made my day. I was made aware by Critical Care Paramedic Jemma Varela about a job she attended recently, where a patient had suffered a traumatic, life-changing arm injury. Student Paramedic Graham Welch and Sam Edlin arrived first on scene, climbed into a man hole up to their chests in water and dragged them out. They applied a tourniquet (very difficult as the injury went into the shoulder), stopped the bleeding, and saved the patient’s life. Ambulance crew James Ashdown and Paramedic Joanne Sheath, with their Duty Locality Officer Michelle Gregory, then secured this and immediately transported them to the air ambulance’s landing site. Thanks to being able to fly at night and the crews’ quick thinking the patient was at a major trauma centre with a consultant orthopaedic and plastic surgeon within an hour of injury; not easy from Hemel Hempstead. I want to offer my sincere thanks to the crews, who went above and beyond to save the patient’s life. It was undoubtedly a very difficult job for all of you, but you have demonstrated the core values we aspire to achieve in our organisation and made a huge difference to someone’s life. Hearing this has reminded me of why I work in the ambulance service. Graham, Sam, James, Joanne and Michelle – well done and thank you.

Have a good week,


Published 16th March, 2017

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